BELL’S CIRCASSIA, 1840, WITH HAND-COLORED LITHOGRAPHIC ILLUSTRATIONS
(CAUCASUS) BELL, James Stanislaus. Journal of a Residence in Circassia During the Years 1837, 1838 and 1839. London: Edward Moxon, 1840. Two volumes. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter polished tan calf, raised bands, black morocco spine labels, marbled boards. $1350.
First edition of “one of the two most important travel books to emerge from 19th century peregrinations in the Caucasus” (Speake), illustrated with folding map and 12 lithographs: three hand-colored, eight tinted, and one untinted.
After attempting to run the Russian blockade of the Circassian coast—during which Bell’s ship, the Vixen, was seized—Bell moved to the Caucasus for three years, joined by reporter James Longworth for part of the time. Bell’s book provides “sympathetic insight into a lifestyle that within 25 years was to vanish forever” (Speake) and records the Circassians’ struggle for independence from Russia. Bound without half titles. Abbey, Travel 355. Atabey 91. Speake, Literature of Travel and Exploration, I: 200. Not in Blackmer. Engraved armorial bookplate of M. Nazapen; discreet shelf numbers stamped on spines and inked on front free endpapers. Small bookseller label in Russian from the “M K” antiquarian department (most likely Moskovsky Komsomolets) on rear pastedown of Volume I.
Text generally clean with only a few scattered spots, plates bright. Minor rubbing to extremities. An excellent copy of this scarce work in contemporary calf.